Tainted Intentions from the Health Care Industry, Part One

Nutrition Health Review, January 1, 2002 | Go to article overview

Tainted Intentions from the Health Care Industry, Part One


Part One

A doctor-patient relationship is one of the most vital relationships many people will have in their lifetime. Patients trust their physicians to recommend the safest and most effective forms of treatment for illnesses ranging from the common cold to life-threatening cancer. Patients expect their physicians to give them unbiased advice based on years of experience and each person's individual case history.

Are these expectations being met?

Over the past few years, pharmaceutical companies have been experiencing an economic boon that has not been seen in any other industry. Companies are earning and spending billions of dollars each year on prescription drug advertising designed to convince physicians that their drug is the best drug. Advertisements in medical journals, drug companysponsored galas, and even personal sales visits that can earn physicians thousands of dollars a year are all regular occurrences.

For example, a small-town doctor spent a weekend in New York City at a seminar sponsored by Pfizer, the makers of sildenafil (Viagra). He walked away with more than $10,000 dollars worth of "freebies," including an all-expenses-paid trip to a resort in Florida, dinner cruises, hockey tickets, a ski trip for his family, and free computer equipment. Other physicians accepted free massages, food, and portraits. A company that manufactures an antacid drug was giving away fire extinguishers.

"It's very tempting, and they just keep anteing it up," said one physician, "I feel in some ways it is kind of like bribery."

Will the next patient who is examined by this physician be given a fair and unbiased diagnosis? If there is a chance that a safe alternative therapy would be a better option, will the doctor instead prescribe an unproven, and possibly dangerous, drug that is produced by a company that is bankrolling his vacation?

Individual physicians, however, are not the only ones feeling tempted to receive money offered by the drug companies. The New England Journal of Medicine recently relaxed its strict conflict-of-interest policy because, of a shortage of publishable authors who had no ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Since 1990, the Journal's rule was that no one could publish an article who had any financial interest in a company that made a product discussed in the article or in one of the product's competitors.

Now the Journal restricts authors who have a "significant" stake in a product's interest. Payments over $10,000 are considered significant. In 2000, the Journal admitted that it had violated its own policy 19 times in the previous three years.

Some pharmaceutical companies have gone as far as to write articles themselves, and then search for a reputable doctor to attach his or her own name as the author.

"Some of us believe that the present system [of ghostwriting] is approaching a high-class form of prostitution," said Fuller Torrey, executive director of the Stanley Foundation Research Programs in Bethesda, Maryland.

What of the drugs themselves? A perfect drug that is free of adverse effects does not exist. On the contrary, evidence suggests that many potentially life-threatening drugs are being prescribed in great numbers each day. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that complications from taking older anti-inflammatory drugs-- such as rofecoxib (Vioxx(R)) and valdecoxib (Bextra(R))-results in hospitalization of more than 107,000 patients each year in America, whereas ulcer complications kill approximately 16,500 patients each year. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Tainted Intentions from the Health Care Industry, Part One
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.